Early Season Tips for Runners: How to Get Your Spring Training Started Right

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Family RunningWith winter now well behind us, it’s time for runners and athletes to come out of hibernation and start preparing for spring and summer races. While it may be tempting to try and rapidly increase your miles from the base you maintained during the winter months, it’s important not to push yourself too hard too quickly. That’s how injuries occur.

To avoid injuries, here are seven tips to help start your season right so you can maximize performance and finish well in your races.

  1. Check your gear: Whether you decided to take the winter off, or kept up a more modest training regimen during the cold weather, there’s a good chance your running apparel could use an update. Most importantly, for runners of course, are your shoes. If they’re not keeping your feet comfortable and dry any longer, it’s time for you to invest in a new pair. Our friends over at Road Runner Sports are experts in finding the best shoe for you. Plus, spring weather can be a bit temperamental, so be sure to stock up on light layers that are easy to peel off mid-run. If you plan to do your running at night, make sure your gear has plenty of reflective features to ward off traffic.

  2. Start slow: We know how tempting it can be to jump start your training with a few high-intensity hill sprints, but resist the urge. Regardless of where your base mileage is, you do not want to overdo yourself too early and risk an injury that would force you to sit out the race you’re preparing for. Instead, start slow and take a gradual approach, building up miles progressively week after week. Start with a brisk walk for five minutes and then ease your way into a slow jog for the next 10 before you hit your training pace. For the first three weeks, we recommend keeping your runs relatively short, roughly three to four miles at most, while adding 10% more mileage each week. Don’t add your high intensity speed drills until you’ve rebuilt your running base and can comfortably run 10 miles at an easy pace. Your patience will pay off big in the long run.

  3. Listen to your body: Everyone is different, so the pace and intensity of your training will be specific to your body. Therefore, it is vital that you pay attention to what your body is telling you. Don’t be afraid to take unscheduled days off, even if it means going down in mileage for the week. With warmer weather, it’s also important to pay attention to hydration, as your body will lose more water through sweating than in colder months. For more info on proper hydration, check out our blog post Running on Empty.
  4. Prepare for new running surfaces: If you were running during the winter, most likely you logged the majority of your miles on a treadmill or an indoor track (or on the no-impact Zero Runner). In both cases, the surface you were running on was likely much more cushioned and comfortable than asphalt or concrete. As you begin to run outdoors again, pay attention to your feet and how they feel impacting the stiffer surface. There’s no need to give up the treadmill completely, so alternate running indoors and outdoors until your body acclimates. Running on trails and grass generally means a softer surface than roads, but uneven terrain can cause stress and strain if you’re not careful.

  5. TRX Lunge

    Lunge with a TRX Home Suspension Trainer.

    Cross train: To really bring your body to peak running form, it is vital that you do more than simply run. Cross training that incorporates strength work, core exercises, and stability workouts can make a significant impact on your running form, endurance, and power. Check out our blog post, 5 Essential Items for Runners, for some ideas on the best equipment for cross training and hitting peak form.

  6. Pick a race: Nothing is more motivating than putting a race on your calendar and committing to running in it. Therefore, do some research on local races in your area and find one or two that occur early in the season. The idea with these races is not to win, but to give you and your body a trial run as you get back into peak conditioning. By committing to runs earlier in the season, you will help prepare yourself mentally and physically for the races you’ll be taking more seriously later on.

  7. Find a buddy: Training in isolation is perfectly acceptable, but having a workout buddy can do wonders for your progress. Not only can a friend help you when it comes to motivation, but keeping in touch with a workout buddy is important for safety too. And if you tend to run alone, it’s always a good idea to let someone know where you’re running and when you expect to get back.

Couple running

Running on Empty? The Importance of Proper Hydration

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Staying HydratedSpring has officially sprung, and that means the season for running outdoors is upon us. And while running in the sun is a nice change of pace from the indoor treadmill, making sure you stay properly hydrated is something you must take seriously to guarantee high performance and a healthy workout. When running on your treadmill, it’s very easy to stay hydrated by keeping a bottle or two within easy reach. When running outdoors, however, some considerations must be made. In this post, we’ll go through some of the reasons why hydration is so important and how you can make sure you keep your fluids topped-up while you exercise.

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The Problems of Dehydration

Although human beings can go several weeks without food, water is a different story. Approximately 40% to 70% of your body is water, so even a slight loss in volume is enough to cause serious problems. The more you run, the more your body sweats. The more you sweat, the more your blood volume decreases. As this happens, your heart has to work harder to deliver oxygen to your working muscles, making it more difficult for you to continue your workout.

The Benefits of Hydration

Water helps your body regulate temperature, lubricate joints, and transport nutrients to give you the energy you need, all of which is necessary to achieve your best performance. For example, an April 2010 study published in the Journal of Athletic Training found that runners who started a 12K race dehydrated on an 80 degree day finished about 2.5 minutes slower compared to when they ran the same distance hydrated. When you are dehydrated, it is more difficult for your body to transfer heat, which causes your heart to beat faster and makes it more difficult for you to keep up.

Check out our fantastic selection of fitness books to help you train like a pro!

Similarly, a 2008 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise demonstrated that cyclists who drank cold beverages before and during their workouts exercised nearly 12 minutes longer than those who drank warm beverages. The cold fluid helped lower body temperature, which led to lower perceived effort for the cyclists, making it easier for them to workout longer and harder.

Water or Sports Drinks?

Importance of Proper HydrationWhen it comes to hydration, a common question revolves around whether it is better to stick with water or sports drinks, like Gatorade. Although some negative arguments can be made about sports drinks, especially those that are in high in calories due to added sugars, sports drinks should absolutely be a part of your hydration plan.

In April 2010, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise showed that runners who rinsed their mouths with a carb solution (sports drink) right before, and every 15 minutes during, an hour-long treadmill session not only ran faster but also about 200 meters farther than those who rinsed with a placebo. This is because the carbohydrates present in the sports drink trigger the reward centers in your brain, and the incoming energy sensed by your brain may lower the perceived effort.

Therefore, although sports drinks are generally higher in calories, avoiding them entirely is not the best idea. For shorter runs, drinking only water will suffice. But if you’re planning on running for more than an hour, you should keep a sports drink handy to help replenish the sodium you’ve lost due to sweating. Plus, the electrolytes will help you absorb fluids more easily.

Hydration Tips

Now that we’re clear on the problems associated with dehydration and the benefits you can enjoy by drinking enough fluids, here’s a list of tips to help you maximize your performance and stay healthy during your runs:

1. Drink Before You Run: Most everyone drinks once they’ve finished their exercise, but drinking before the run is equally important. One to two hours before you run drink 8-16 ounces of fluid, and then drink another 4-8 ounces right before you head outside.

2. Drink During Your Run: Whether you carry a water bottle, wear a hydration belt or backpack, stash some bottles along your route, or make pit stops at your home or convenience stores, you must have a plan to keep hydrated during your run. You should plan to drink 3-6 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes. If you have to, set an alarm to remind yourself to top up. Otherwise, it’s generally best to drink according to your thirst.

3. Drink Sports Drinks: If you’re going on a run longer than 1 hour, make sure sports drinks comprise part of your fluid intake. The longer you work out, the more sodium and other minerals you’ll lose through sweating. Sports drinks will help replenish these vital nutrients.

4. Determine Your Sweat Rate: Everyone’s body is different, including how quickly your body loses water from sweating. Therefore, weigh yourself nude before a timed training run and then once again after. Every pound of weight lost equals approximately 1 pint of water lost. So if you lose 2 pounds during a 1 hour run, that equals two pints or 32 ounces. This means you’ll need to drink 8 ounces of water or sports drink every 15 minutes.

Five Essential Items Every Runner Should Have

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When you ask most runners what they do to stay in shape, they generally reply, “I run.” And although running is certainly a great cardio workout, those runners who rely exclusively on running to stay fit do so to the detriment of their running game. As surprising as it may sound, to improve your running form, endurance, and economy you need to be doing more than just running. Specifically, runners need to incorporate stability exercises and strength training in their routine if they want to truly improve their time on the track and decrease risk of injury.

Towards that end, here are five essential items every runner should have:

1. Stability Ball

Exercise Stability BallThere is absolutely no excuse for you not having a stability ball. When it comes to training your core, it’s hard to beat the big rubber sphere. But, you may say, “I’m a runner. I should focus on my legs, not my core, right?” Wrong.

As great as running is, relying on it exclusively for your fitness can lead to serious muscle imbalances and reduced flexibility. A stability ball can help address these problems by adding some instability to your training. As your body attempts to balance on the ball, it’s forced to call upon groups of core muscles working in unison. Trying to keep your balance requires far more muscle groups than sit-ups and crunches, working the front and side abdominals in combination to provide exactly the kind of core strengthening that will improve your running. A strong core is vital to stabilizing your upper body, which will allow you to maintain proper running form even when you’re fatigued.

Check out our selection of stability balls.

For some ideas of exercises to do with your stability ball, here’s a great article from Active.

2. Foam Roller

Foam RollersYou may have seen these in your local gym and wondered just what the heck they’re used for. When used correctly, foam rollers can release tension and tightness between your muscles and the fascia (the thin sheath of fibrous tissue surrounding the muscles) that result from the repetitive motions you use when running. A combination of foam rolling and dynamic stretching will help ease tension, improve flexibility and range of motion, and seriously decrease risk of injury. Indeed, using a foam roller correctly can provide benefits similar to those you’d enjoy from a deep-tissue massage. If you’re serious about running, then it’s time to invest in a couple foam rollers.

Check out our selection of foam rollers.

And here’s a great eight-part video series from Runner’s World on how to efficiently use your foam roller.

3. Kettlebells

KettlebellsAs we mentioned earlier, runners who fail to incorporate strength training into their workout regimen are not only missing out on improving their running time, endurance, and form, they’re also missing out on a prime method of decreasing risk of injury. Most runners avoid the weight room out of a fear of getting too big and bulky. However, maintaining a strength program is absolutely essential to improving your running efficiency. For example, getting rid of rounded shoulders can help increase the amount of air your lungs take in and out, while strengthening your glutes will provide more power for when you push off the ground.

Thanks to their distinct shape, kettlebells are an especially helpful tool for runners working on their strength training. Ballistic movements like swings and snatches will help improve your power and explosiveness. The shape and size of kettlebells compel you to use a lot of force, core strength, and coordinated movement, all of which increases overall body strength.

Check out our selection of kettlebells.

Here’s a nice article from Competitor.com about four key kettlebell exercises for runners to get you started.

4. Powerblock Dumbbells

Powerblock Sport Adjustable DumbbellsAnother key tool for a runner’s strength training regimen are dumbells. Most any dumbbells will do, but we like the Powerblock dumbbells best thanks to their convenient storage and easy-to-increase weight increments.

Again, most runners are hesitant about anything that even smells like weight-lifting out of fear of getting too big. But as mentioned before, strength training for runners is not about getting big but about targeting those muscle groups that running, alone, doesn’t hit, but which are essential to improving your running ability. You want to increase your strength to the point at which your body can handle running without injury. With Powerblock dumbbells, you can focus on increasing your strength and stamina without cluttering up the room.

Check out our selection of Powerblock dumbbells.

Here’s a quick video that shows a great dumbbell core circuit workout for runners.

5. TRX Home Suspension Training Kit

TRX Home Suspension Training KitWhen it comes to an all-in-one system that allows you to work on your balance, strength-training, flexibility, and endurance, the TRX Home Suspension Training Kit is simply the best. Originally invented by a US Navy SEAL to help him exercise without gym equipment, the TRX uses your own bodyweight to deliver a powerful workout that can strengthen key areas needed to increase running acceleration, top speed, and overall running control. It’s simple to set up, easy to increase or decrease difficulty, and works equally well indoors or out.

What makes the TRX kit especially great is that it constitutes a full-body workout using only your body weight and gravity, a fact that will assuage most runners’ fears of getting too bulky from pumping iron. From basic squats and pushups to jumps, twists, one-legged lifts, and more, the TRX system is extremely versatile and, no matter what exercise you do, will engage your core stabilizers so you can build strength, balance, agility, and power all at once.

Order your own TRX Home Suspension Training Kit today.

Here’s a great video to get started improving knee drive and posture with the TRX kit.

 

Artificial Knees, Hips Not a Problem with Zero Runner

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Dave Sheriff, the former owner of HealthStyles, has been nicknamed the “bionic man” and for good reason. With replaced hips, replaced knees, and a few more spare parts, Dave has unfortunately been unable to run like he used to.

Until now!

White Paper: The Deleterious Effects of Chronic Impact from Running

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Octane Fitness and the University of Minnesota recently published a pair of white papers regarding the Zero Runner, a new piece of exercise equipment from Octane Fitness. The Zero Runner is the first running machine of its kind, as it completely eliminates the stress and strain runners feel from their feet impacting on the ground.

Here’s a snippet from the first white paper, The Deleterious Effects of Chronic Impact from Running. Click here to download the full white paper.

With recreational running at an all-time high in the United States, more people are regularly exercising and improving their fitness levels. The number of U.S. race finishers has increased nearly 600 percent since 1990, and the total number of annual U.S. running events has reached a record 28,200. A corresponding increase in injuries has accompanied this significant jump in running participation.

In fact, research estimates that approximately 74% of runners suffer a moderate or severe injury each year. Some estimates are as high as 82% of runners will get injured at some point in their running career. And dedicated distance runners can attest to a myriad of acute and chronic injuries over time.

While running confers a host of physiological and psychological benefits, the repetitive stress it inflicts on the body over time can lead to injuries.

An independent study by the University of Minnesota found that the Zero Runner had minimal force impact when compared to outside and treadmill running.

Want to read more? Click here to download the rest of this brief yet informational white paper for yourself!

What’s Inside:

  • Impact Force and the Human Body
  • Common Overuse Injuries in Runners
  • Zero-Impact Running
  • And More!

White Paper: Improving Running Performance with Cross Training

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The all new Zero Runner from Octane Fitness represents a revolutionary new way to run: all of the benefits and flexibility of running outdoors but without the strain caused by your feet impacting with the ground. Already, the Zero Runner has changed the lives of runners who had been told by their doctors that running just wasn’t an option for them anymore (see our guest blog from Tom Riggs, here).

But the Zero Runner is not simply for injured or recovering athletes. This running machine’s innovative design makes it ideal for serious runners looking to get an edge on their competition through cross training.

Here’s a preview of the second white paper published by Octane Fitness and the University of Minnesota that highlights some of the ways the Zero Runner can help runners enhance their running game and enrich their overall workout: Improving Running Performance with Cross Training.

Running participation in the United States continues to climb, with more than 70% growth in the past decade, according to Running USA’s 2014 State of the Sport – Part II: Running Industry Report. Correspondingly, increasing interest exists surrounding training, injury prevention, nutrition and optimizing performance.

Regarding training, the exercise physiology principle of Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demand (S.A.I.D) indicates that the body adapts to the specific stresses imposed on it; so to become a better runner, one must train by running. But some runners may take this to an extreme – along with a “more is better” mindset, making logging miles paramount, often to the exclusion of any other type of exercise.

Cross training is a comprehensive approach to physiological conditioning and adds valuable variety that helps reduce susceptibility to overuse injuries.

With the Zero Runner, CROSS CiRCUIT and SmartLink, excelling in running by adding cross training is now convenient, efficient, and effective.

Want to read more? Click here to download the rest of this brief yet informational white paper for yourself!

What’s Inside:

  • Strength Training for Runners
  • The Role of Flexibility
  • A Simple Solution
  • Fueling an Addiction
  • And More!

 

Ideal Cross-Trainer For The Injured Runner: The Zero Runner

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Ric Rojas Coaching on the Octane Zero Runner

Ric Rojas coaching National USATF Youth Bronze Medalist, Calvin Munson, on the Octane Zero Runner ZR7.

As a running coach, I advise runners on optimum training, peak performance, and injury management. And under each of these topics there are volumes of information, products, and services available to facilitate successful training and racing.

Healthy and successful runners are any coach’s dream and, of course, I hope that each of my runners is always able to train and race at their highest level. I try to design their programs to minimize the chance of injury by incorporating stretching, non-impact cross-training, and strength training, but even with the best injury-prevention methodologies, many runners  experience “over-use” or occasionally traumatic injuries.

In order to continue training, these injured athletes will eventually need some combination of physical therapy, “non-impact” aerobic training, or occasionally more invasive medical intervention such as surgery.

In extreme cases, runners may be injured so severely that they are unable to run, but in most cases, injured runners are able to cross-train using non-running/non-impact alternatives.

This is where stationary aerobic training machines, bikes, and water-based training have traditionally come to the rescue.

The main consideration in recommending a cross-training apparatus for an injured runner is how closely it allows the runner to simulate a running workout while eliminating potentially harmful foot-strike impact. Historically, I have recommended elliptical trainers because they allow runners to reach high aerobic exertion levels with no impact. I have also recommended “deep water running” for the same reason.  Although cycling is a great aerobic training alternative, the upper-body is not engaged and body weight is supported by the bike, so target aerobic thresholds are more difficult to achieve. The other considerations in selecting a cross-training alternative are availability/convenience, price, and size.

So, in the spectrum of possibilities, each machine has pluses and minuses depending on its capacity to facilitate true running activity and other considerations. The ideal machine would simulate the physical motion of running and allow high aerobic exertion levels with no foot-strike related impact.

Recently, Octane introduced the new “Zero Runner” running trainer. This machine allows the runner to “run” with no related foot-strike impact while achieving target aerobic training levels. So far, I have been able to successfully replicate training runs, intervals, and high-intensity speed workouts on the Zero Runner. This winter, I plan to integrate the Zero Runner into my running, circuit training, and rehab programs.

The Zero Runner also meets the required practical considerations: reasonable price, a small footprint, and has three additional bonuses – a lower price than comparable ellipticals or treadmills, it requires no electrical power, and it makes almost no noise.

For those injured runners looking to get back to the joys of running without aggravating the injury which forced them away from the sport they love, the Zero Runner is a terrific option. Either as a stand-alone workout or in conjunction with a cross-training regimen, the Zero Runner delivers on its promises of providing a no-impact workout while replicating the natural running motion that other low- or no-impact options simply cannot.

Ric Rojas 1981 15K World RecordRic Rojas is the owner founder of Ric Rojas Running, which offers comprehensive training programs for both junior and adult endurance runners and sprinters of all abilities.

Rojas received his BA from Harvard University in 1974 and an MBA from the University of Denver in 1983. While at Harvard, he set the three-mile record and qualified for “All-Ivy” honors in track and cross country. From 1977 to 1981, Rojas was ranked in the top 10 US Road Racers by Track and Field News. As a high-school prep, Rojas won four New Mexico state high-school championships in cross country and track and was ranked in the top 10 US High School Milers. He still holds the New Mexico state mile record of 4:12.6.

My Doctors Told Me To Never Run Again. Then I Found The Zero Runner.

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I really miss running, so when I heard about the Zero Runner I HAD to see what it was all about. I’ll tell you right up front that this thing delivers on every promise you’ve heard about it, and it delivers big!

Tom Riggs on the Octane Zero Runner ZR7

Tom Riggs runs again on the new Octane Zero Runner.

The new Zero Runner from Octane Fitness has enabled me to return to running after more than a year off, even though I’ve had two doctors tell me I had to give up the sport I’ve loved for over 30 years!

Back in the mid seventies as a high school gymnast, I made a horrible miscalculation on my dismount from the high bar. As I was swinging reverse giants (that’s when the gymnast swings completely around the bar) I was supposed to let go at just the right point, do a front flip, and land on the mats below. I’d done the trick just fine in practice and in competition. This time, though, something went horribly wrong. I’ll never know exactly what I did wrong, but the result was painful and, eventually, life-changing. Instead of landing on my feet as planned, I hit the bar with the backs of my legs and landed on the back of my head with my full body weight coming straight down.

I was extremely sore for several days, and my neck was stiff for weeks! I didn’t know it at the time, but that stiff neck was because I had ruptured the disk at C5-6. It took a while, but several years later that disk collapsed completely and I had to have a spinal fusion. I was fine for many years and even ran 30 marathons, winning my age group or the master’s division a few times in smaller local races, and once even managed to place fourth overall! I planned to run marathons into my eighties and pile up age-group awards until I either didn’t enjoy running anymore, or I was physically unable to do so.

The “physically unable” part came much sooner than I’d anticipated. Because of that original injury, some bad luck and some bad genes, I’ve now had three fusion procedures on my neck and one on my lower spine. I’ve also got titanium joints and screws in both feet, but I was still trying to run as much as possible. Finally, two doctors told me just weeks apart that, not only was running a bad idea, but I should stop altogether before I put myself in horrible pain for the rest of my life!

I really miss running, so when I heard about the Zero Runner I HAD to see what it was all about. I’ll tell you right up front that this thing delivers on every promise you’ve heard about it, and it delivers big!

My wife and I both took to it immediately with no real clumsiness …and my wife has never been a runner! Our sales person had warned us that there would be a learning curve and some initial awkward feelings, and that proved to be the case with the group of people who tried the Zero Runner after us. We stood and watched as they tried, one after the other, to get the hang of running on this new contraption. They felt silly, and truthfully looked silly as well, but they were clearly enjoying themselves and got the hang of it in very little time.

Octane Zero Runner ZR7 Console

The Octane Zero Runner console is simple and elegant.

We took delivery of our Zero Runner about two weeks after that initial visit to HealthStyles Exercise Equipment and both of us absolutely love it! Besides looking very cool, this machine is smooth, quiet, and provides an awesome workout. My wife loves the fact that she can vary her pace and stride without having to push buttons to tell a treadmill to slow down or speed up. The Zero Runner is motivated by you, so you get to set the pace instead of reacting to a mindless motor.

Stepping onto the Zero Runner, one of the first things you notice is the nifty piece of clear glass directly in front of you. Then you wonder, “Where’s the display? Where are the numbers and timers and stuff?” Not until you touch the “power” button do you realize the clear piece of glass is more than just a decoration or a book holder; it’s actually the display! Simple and elegant, it’s a pleasant departure from the usual gaudy, overindulgent displays of today’s fitness equipment. Stationary handles contain heart rate sensors, or you can wear a wireless chest strap to keep tabs on your effort. I like to run with only one hand holding on to either the stationary handle or the handle that moves with your stride, so having that chest strap is a nice touch.

There are a few different strides you can do on the Zero Runner, including lunges and stairs, so even though the strength of this machine is its dead-on imitation of running, you can vary your workout if boredom sets in. There’s also the usual timer that counts up or down. And the build quality is exceptional. I highly recommend the Zero Runner!

Tom RiggsTom Riggs is a runner, artist, and writer living in Fort Collins.

Contact him at tomtherunner@hotmail.com.

62-Year-Old with Five Artificial Joints and Spinal Fusion Runs Again on Zero Runner

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Dave Sheriff runs again on the Octane Zero Runner.

Dave Sheriff runs again on the Octane Zero Runner.

Sixty-two-year-old former avid runner Dave Sheriff recently re-found his love of running in a new piece of cardio equipment that allows him painless, impact-free running, the Zero Runner.

“I missed being able to stride out and run,” Sheriff said.

“On the Zero Runner, I look the same as anyone else. And I get the endorphins, the runner’s high.”

Sheriff sorely missed running.

As a former athlete – he wrestled and played football at St. Cloud State in Minnesota – who suffered injuries – his right knee in college and his shoulder more recently, in a bike crash – Sheriff had good cause to stop running.

“I had both hips replaced 16 years ago; both knees replaced, around four years ago; and a spinal fusion – with cadaver disc and titanium plate – and shoulder reconstruction three years ago.

“They shoulda just put me down.”

Despite his near-bionic status, and like many passionately athletic Coloradoans, Sheriff continued in fitness, mostly by means other than running.

“I cycled. Rode a stationary bike. Power-walked, with poles to let my upper body do a bit more of the work. I elliptical-ed.

“But these other things aren’t quite the same,” resigned Sheriff.

And he did try a little running.

On a standard treadmill, Sheriff can do a slow jog: four miles per hour. But only for a few minutes.

“It’s not comfortable.”

Pavement is even worse.

“I can run for 30 seconds.

However, with the Zero Runner, which looks a bit like a mechanical exoskeleton for the legs, Sheriff said there’s no discomfort.

“And there’s the freedom of a full range of motion. I really get a sweat up,” Sheriff said. “It’s phenomenal.”

Octane Zero Runner Stride PhasesThe Los Angeles Times recently reviewed a handful of running machines that claim to take the stress and impact out of running. The new product category – the soft running machine – is needed, the review said, because every year, half of all runners get hurt enough that they must stop running – sometimes for a few days, sometimes forever.

Injury reduction was likewise the impetus for the explosion of “soft” running methods in the last decade, such as barefoot running.

In the review, the Zero Runner was by far the simplest. No motor, just foot cups and hip and knee joints that allow the cups (and feet) to follow a normal running stride, including following the runner’s feet upward as they kick up behind. And handles that follow the runner’s arm movement. As well, it features a striking clear-screen display and electronics that integrate with iPads and iPhones.

It was also one of the least expensive, at $3,299.

The Zero Runner can be found at HealthStyles Exercise Equipment stores in Denver, Boulder, Ft. Collins, and Glenwood Springs. It was designed, and is manufactured, by Octane Fitness of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

 

Zero Runner: Benefits for Injured or Recovering Athletes

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Octane ZR7 Zero Runner Cross TrainingBeing forced to train less or even forgo intensive training altogether due to an injury is easily the most frustrating moment for an athlete. Although there are options available that allow injured athletes to continue working out to some degree, all of them lack the quality and intensity athletes demand from their training.

Until now.

The all-new Zero Runner from Octane, available at your nearest HealthStyles Exercise Equipment location, is the first running machine that allows you to run with your natural form while eliminating the impact of your feet hitting the ground. The Zero Runner’s unique design, the ability to add more miles to your run without adding strain to your joints, and its easy incorporation into cross training exercises make it an ideal fitness machine for injured and recovering athletes.

Unique Design

The engineers at Octane set out to design a way for athletes to enjoy all the benefits of running naturally but without the pounding and stress on the body that generally accompanies it. In the Zero Runner’s innovative design, they have accomplished just that!

The Zero Runner features ingenious hip and knee joints intended to act almost like a bionic leg – facilitating each athlete’s unique running motion and natural stride. The independent pedals follow your feet throughout the running motion, allowing you to run just as naturally as if you were outdoors. Both of these aspects serve to suspend the body, frame your physique, and protect your joints so you can reap the benefits of running while avoiding the pain from impacting with the ground.

Octane Zero Runner ZR7 vs Treadmills

Unlike ellipticals or treadmills, the Zero Runner places no limitations on your movement. There’s no moving belt and no fixed path. Instead, you create the movement and pace that is uniquely yours. By eliminating impact, the Zero Runner allows injured and recovering athletes the freedom to run as they would normally and at a pace that fits their training needs.

Add More Miles

Even otherwise healthy athletes inevitably reach a point in their run after which the benefits of further running are outweighed by the stress and strain that comes with each footfall on pavement. Indeed, runners who try to push themselves past these limits can threaten their bodies with serious damage.

With the Zero Runner, you can delay that breaking point and continue running with the same intensity without fear of pain or injury. The pounding your joints take when running outside or even on treadmills steadily wears down your body and stresses your joints. Running on the Zero Runner, however, completely eliminates the impact your body would otherwise feel while engaging the same muscles you use when running naturally.

While the Zero Runner is an ideal machine for injured athletes, all variety of runners can benefit from the additional miles the Zero Runner makes possible for you to achieve. Try using the Zero Runner as a supplement to your normal running routine: run 6 miles outside and 4 miles inside on the Zero Runner. You’ll immediately notice how the lack of impact on the Zero Runner allows you to stay as strong at mile 10 as you were at mile 1.

Cross Training Integration

Octane Zero Runner ZR7 CROSS CiRCUITLike all of Octane’s products, the Zero Runner can connect wirelessly to your iPad using the SmartLink app available on the app store. With the SmartLink app, you have access to dozens of customizable training programs, tools, and resources to help you improve your performance and track your progress (for more info on the Zero Runner’s iPad and SmartLink integration, please see our previous blog post).

One of the best features of the SmartLink app, though, is the unique CROSS CiRCUIT program filled with tons of beneficial cross training exercises. Athletes today know how important it is to vary the exercises you do while training in order to get the most well-rounded exercise possible. Cross training involves strength, flexibility, and stretching with different exercises like plyometrics and core moves to help you take on your weaker links and dramatically improve your performance.

By incorporating the Zero Runner into your cross training program, you will improve the efficiency of your workouts, increase your strength, and develop lasting athletic power. Combine running intervals on the Zero Runner with strength training and stretching exercises to optimize your workout while minimizing the chance of injury.

To all the injured and recovering athletes out there: don’t settle for less in your training and exercise. Your injury does not have to prevent you from continuing to work out. Visit your nearest Healthstyles Exercise Equipment location and try the ZR7 Zero Runner for yourself, today!